Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/37
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name and fame, were not turned aside without leaving their foul slime behind them. Jefferson Davis had come to be regarded by the mass of the northern people as what they called the "arch traitor," the " raw head and bloody bones " of wicked rebellion; the man responsible to widows for their slaughtered husbands, to orphans for their lost fathers, to parents for their murdered sons, the very embodiment of hate and evil and bloody crime. Even when the returning tide of reason and justice began to flow, when juster and more rational views of the war and of its participants began to pre- vail, when the long-silent chords of fraternity between the people of a country, once more common, began to vibrate with the music of renewed love and generosity, swelling into a louder anthem, until it drowned the sensate shrieks of hate and discord, even then Jefferson Davis was still left in solitary seclusion from the abundant bounty of mutual charity and forgiveness. Like a red flag shaken in the face of an angry bull, the mention of his name still remained a note of discord, which aroused anew the almost forgotten frenzy of the past. Even the southern people, with all their courage, almost learned to speak his name with bated breath, and to confine within the private recesses of their own hearts the unbounded sympathy, love and ad- miration which they felt for their undaunted leader, who had been made the vicarious sufferer for faults, if faults they were, which he only shared in common with each and every one of them, and who bore the whole burden of which they had been relieved, with such eager gladness in their relief, and with such unflinching fortitude.
There was a time when the people of the Southern States had the same feelings towards Abraham Lincoln which the northern people entertained towards Jefferson Davis, and which still linger in the minds of many of them. How completely have those sentiments passed a;vay and been forgotten !
Justice is the most persistent and irrepressible of human voices. It may be smothered for a time by passion and prejudice it may be temporarily drowned by the uproar of calumny and denunciation but it still clamors for a hearing, and the time surely comes when it must and will be heard. It took more than a century and a half to bring the people of England to the point of doing justice to Oliver Cromwell. We live faster in these days. More than a generation has passed since the Confederate flag was folded to its eternal rest. Death, the great leveler, which summons each of us in his turn to the bar of judgment, and from whose dread presence malice and all uncharitableness shrink rebuked, has long since laid his icy fingers